Could I Have Screwed Up My Chin Surgery?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I think I may have screws up my chuin surgery. I was washing my face and was pushing really hard on my chin but didn't know because it is numb and then something felt different…on the right the implant was in a different location. Then I protruded my mandible forward and it only felt tight on the left of my chin, not on both sides of it anymore. And then I palpated my implant and on the right the implant is completely on the outside of my mandible and on the left it is under it. It is bad. Now it is in a lot of pain. I tried putting it back in place but it is of no use. I will just injure myself. Now the incident is giving me a lot of pain: my whole chin and the new location of the implant. Before this happened I called about having you call in more pain medication to my pharmacy and I mentioned a painful tumor-like lump on the left side of my mandible. It is hard like bone, and round, and inferior to the bone as well as lateral to it. My pain includes pain in this area. However, the area felt different to the touch than other areas. Now, after what I have caused to happen with the implant, I cannot assess it. It is still painful to the touch, although the lump seems smaller and less obvious. It was causing my chin to look shifted to the left, because the right of my chin was flat and the left protruded where the lump was/is. Where the implant was feels like a dent in the bone of my mandible and somewhat looks like one. Now that the implant, out of place, adds width to the right side, my chin looks more centered than before, where it looked shifted to the left. I am also sending a picture of the area where the fat was inserted, just checking if everything looks normal. Both of the areas containing the transplanted fat feel to the touch like I am touching like hard rubbery rubber implants. Just want to know if everything's normal. Thanks.

A: Thank you for the follow-up and sending your pictures. Let me share with some basic concepts about the recovery process from your chin osteotomy/implant and fat injection surgery. It takes a minimum of at least 6 weeks and closer to 3 months to see the final result. It is very normal to have everything that you are feeling and showing at this point, which is very early at just 9 days after your procedure. Besides the swelling, numbness and bruising, every chin osteotomy patient at this point will have hard lumps at the end of the osteotomy cuts on the side of the jawline. That is what you are seeing on your left side and I would not consider that abnormal at this point. While it is possible that could be a malpositioned end of the implant overlying the osteotomy site on that side, it is just as likely that is swelling and a collection of blood from the surgery. I would be a lot more concerned about that issue if this was 4 or 6 weeks but not yet at 9 days out from surgery. I also doubt that you could have malpositioned the implant by rubbing on the outside. The bone and the implant are secured in placed by plates and screws so it would be very hard to displace it. The fat injections into the nasolabial folds will feel and look exactly how they do at this point and that is perfectly normal. It will take 4 to 6 weeks for them to smooth out, blend in and feel normal.

Hang in there as it is still very early in your recovery process.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana